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Jul 16, 2020

P.U.C. Forces B.E.L. to Sign Power Purchase Agreement with Santander

John Avery

At a press conference on Wednesday, the P.U.C. did not mince words about B.E.L. calling the utility unreasonable. The Public Utilities Commission says it is signing an order to force Belize Electricity Limited to sign onto a power purchase agreement with Santander Sugar Energy Limited, following a long-delayed process.  B.E.L. and Santander are the only two parties entering into this agreement and the electricity company firmly believes that it is within its purview to negotiate the terms of that agreement with the sugar manufacturer.  But P.U.C. is saying, not so fast, it is the regulator for that sector and all final decisions on the matter lies with the commission.  On Wednesday, P.U.C. Chairman John Avery addressed the issue, stating that B.E.L. has been reluctant to proceed with the signing of the P.P.A.


John Avery, Chairman, Public Utilities Commission

“The commission has made a decision to amend the power purchase agreement between Santander Energy Limited and B.E.L. and to invite comments.  Basically the amendments provide for three… The amendment to the P.P.A. provides for three things: one, we’re increasing. The original agreement had a minimum annual production target for S.S.E.L. to meet as a minimum annual production.  If they drop below that then it constitutes a breach under the agreement.  The minimum production target was eighteen million, five hundred and seventy-two kilowatt hours in a production season and the production season was expected to be for three months, three and a half months, basically February to sometime in March, April, May.  And then the other thing is to change the rates being charged for the electricity being provided by Santander.  Previously, the current tariffs in the existing P.P.A. calls for eighteen cents to be charged for electricity up to twenty million kilowatt hours or twenty gigawatt hours and then ten cents for electricity thereafter.”

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